Newly Discovered Super-Earth Is Perfectly Placed To Have Water on Its Surface

Artist Rendering of TOI 715b Exoplanet

Artist rendering of the way TOI-715 b, a super-Earth in the habitable zone around its star, might appear to a nearby observer. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA has revealed a newly discovered exoplanet located 137 light-years away, relatively close to Earth by space standards. Located in the habitable zone relative to its parent star, this super-Earth is one and a half times as wide as our own planet. The discovery is exciting because its location in relation to its star could make it possible for liquid water to form on its surface.

While the exoplanet—TOI-715 b—would also need to have the proper atmospheric conditions for surface water, its position within the habitable zone is quite promising. Even more intriguing is the possible presence of a second, Earth-sized planet that may also be located within this zone.

TOI-715 b's parent star is a small red dwarf that is cooler than our Sun. This type of parent star normally supports small, rocky worlds that are more densely packed into the habitable zone due to the lower temperatures. The cooler temperatures also mean a tighter orbit. In the case of this super-Earth, one whole “year” takes just 19 days. This makes it much easier to observe, and made it possible for TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) to discover the planet.

The findings, which were published in January's Monthly Notices of the Royal Astrological Society, are just part of new work on exoplanets. New spaceborne instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope allow astronomers to study them in detail for the first time. Not only can Webb detect their presence, but its instruments can also reveal the composition of their atmospheres. This information will be crucial in understanding whether or not TOI-715 b can truly be classified as a “water world.”

h/t: [Mashable]

Related Articles:

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Water Is Discovered in the Atmosphere of a Potentially Habitable Exoplanet

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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